Tag Archives: wayne county

Ensuring access to high-quality programs in District 11

Photo of an adult hand holding a baby's hand in focus, blankets and pillows in the background of the shot are blurred.

Lisa Tams is a Michigan State University (MSU) Extension educator located at the Western Wayne County office, and she serves District 11 in the area of social-emotional health and well-being. One of the key community partners she has engaged to expand her programming is the Wayne County Third Circuit Court. For over three years, through this partnership Extension has served more than 2,500 court-ordered Wayne County families and individuals with children through parenting programs such as Kids First and Alternatives to Anger for high-conflict co-parents. The goals of these programs are to improve parental skills and knowledge in effective co-parenting, and to decrease the risk of negative outcomes in the social-emotional health and well-being of their children as they go back and forth between two homes.

Lisa and her colleagues are currently working on a large expansion of Extension’s partnership with the court to provide another community-based parent education program that will differ in scope and size from our current programs but have the same basic goals: to strengthen families and improve child well-being. Through this new initiative, Lisa and her team will work to educate and support custodial single mothers who engage not only with the Third Circuit Court but also with the Department of Human Services. Their education programs will reach custodial single mothers who seek to establish paternity and acquire the skills and knowledge to begin co-parenting with a partner who has been absent from the child and custodial parent’s life for an extended period of time. This expansion is being funded through a $389,000 annual allocation to Extension from the county, and we expect full implementation of the pilot program by late summer.  Lisa and her team are excited for this new opportunity with the Third Circuit Court to expand their important shared work of improving the lives and functional well-being of children and families throughout Wayne County.

“From my experience with the Third Circuit Court, I have learned that strategic connections are a very effective and important way to combine expertise, target resources and reduce duplication of services between organizations with the same mission,” Lisa said. “The only way to effectively meet the high need for educational and support programs for families and children in a place like Wayne County, where the need is great and the resources are scarce, is to join forces with other trusted organizations, use the unique strengths of each partner, leave self-interest out of the equation, and work toward streamlining access to high quality programs and services for the communities, families and individuals we serve.”

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Filed under health, Parenting, Partnerships, strategic connections

Wayne County 4-H receives STEM grant

Some Wayne County middle schoolers will be having fun this summer and acquiring important STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills at the same time thanks to a grant from Cognizant’s Making the Future After-school and Summer Program. The program seeks to inspire young learners to pursue STEM disciplines by creating fun and hands-on learning experiences. Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development will use the $6,000 grant in the summer of 2014 to expand the TechXcite program, an after-school engineering curriculum developed by National 4-H and Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering.

Through the program, approximately 100 young people will participate in learning modules that focus on transportation, bio-medical technology, green building and solar energy. They’ll create exciting projects such as a bionic arm, a solar oven, a solar-powered car and rain barrels.

Extension educator Laurie Rivetto leads the Wayne County program and Extension 4-H program coordinator Kristy Oosterhouse is the go-to person for the overall 4-H TEchXcite program.

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MSU Extension Wayne County moves to new locations

Kudos go to the Michigan State University Extension Wayne County staff for their rapid response in moving their offices from their historic downtown Detroit location on Temple Street. Staff members have been busy with the big job of moving all this week and should be settled in by the first week of October. Staff are moving into smaller, community-based offices to better connect to people and neighborhoods.

 Wayne County MSU Extension staff will continue to work out of the 4-H Community Center on the eastside of Detroit and the western Wayne County location in Wayne on Venoy Road. The Venoy Road location will become the new main MSU Extension office. Some MSUE staff will be working out of the MSU office at YouthVille, Detroit; and the MSU Tollgate Education Center, Novi. New MSUE offices will be established with Focus Hope, Detroit, and in a storefront in Lincoln Park. In 2012, an MSU Extension office will also be established in Eastern Market, Detroit.

 Marie Ruemenapp, District 11 coordinator, and Richard Wooten, Extension educator, are coordinating the move. Staff members at the Temple Street location have spent the last few weeks cleaning, packing and organizing. It’s quite a huge undertaking – they received their “moving notice” in late August! – but I’m confident that the MSU Extension Wayne County staff is up to the challenge. And Erica Ciupak, ANR Technology Services director, and her staff have been really helpful in making sure that the Wayne County staff are still connected to our central IT system from their neighborhood-based offices. Thanks go out to all who have pulled off a major miracle in getting this done! They really are an inspiration for all of us.

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Through Toyota 4-H2O grant, Michigan 4-H Youth Development continues to educate kids experientially

For the fourth year, Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has received a Toyota 4-H2O grant. The $65,000 grant is divided between two areas: $50,000 goes to continue the yearlong 4-H2O projects in Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties along with a cluster of counties in northeastern Michigan. The remaining $15,000 supports the 2011 4-H National Youth Science Day activities that will take place throughout the state Oct. 1–8.

Oakland County puts the Toyota 4-H2O grant money to work with “I pledge my hands to larger service,” a campaign focused on involving elementary through high school-aged youth in water issues and water-related cleanup efforts. Youth also learn about water issues hands-on when they attend the 4-H2O Eco-Challenge summer weeklong camp at Indian Springs Metropark in August.

In Washtenaw County, the Huron River Watershed Council partners with MSU Extension to teach students about community-based water resources such as the Huron, Detroit, Ottawa-Stony and Raisin watersheds. The kids test the quality of the water and learn how their daily actions can have an effect on that quality.

In Wayne County, the grant allows students in the Detroit area schools to continue to engage in the Great Lakes Education Program (GLEP) “School Ship” cruises. Students study curriculum in the classroom that prepares them for the cruise. On the boat, students visit stations that involve them in learning about life on board.

Through Toyota 4-H2O, the Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service give students in northeastern Michigan a chance to participate in shipboard learning experiences. Students will conduct water quality tests from Lake Huron, the Ocqueoc River and the Trout River. MSU Extension staff members prepare teachers who in turn teach the students.

The grant allows kids the opportunity to learn science using a hands-on approach and relate what they learn to real-world experiences. It also gives them a taste of career options that they previously may not have known existed.

This is just another great example of how we are effectively carrying out our I Know MI Numbers science literacy initiative, providing science education in a non-formal setting using an experiential, learn-by-doing method and sharing it with teachers in formal school settings.

The Toyota 4-H20 Project is funded by a grant from Toyota to National 4-H Council and the Michigan 4-H Foundation.

To read more about 4-H Youth Development and the Toyota 4-H2O grant, click here.

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Wayne County 4-H Tech Wizards receives award

Wayne County Children and Family Services and Michigan State University Extension established a youth mentoring program to serve adjudicated and at-risk youth throughout Wayne County. Back in January, I told you about 4-H Tech Wizards, a group-mentoring program that matches professionals who work in science, engineering, technology and math fields with youth in Ottawa and Wayne counties. Earlier this month, Wayne County received a 2011 NACo (National Association of Counties) Achievement Award for Tech Wizards. The annual award recognizes innovative county government programs.

 4-H Tech Wizards addresses the need for youth at risk for involvement with the juvenile justice system to engage in activities that will expose them to technology and technology-related careers. The program also involves the youth in community service using technology to address a community need. It puts an emphasis on building family and community supports that promote college access for youth.

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Book give-away promotes reading

It’s not every day that our programs attract the attention of three different Detroit area television stations. And last Wednesday, March 2 was no ordinary day. For one thing, it was the 107th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss). To celebrate his birthday and to kick off March Is Reading Month, the Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development Ready, Set, Read! Program began distribution of an assortment of 1,000 books to children in Wayne County. The collection is part of a donation of 50,000 books by the Molina Foundation, located in Torrance, Calif., and founded in 2004 by Dr. Martha Molina Bernadett. The give-aways took place at three Detroit locations: Bates Academy, All Saints Neighborhood Center and the 4-H Community Center. At each location, Wayne County commissioners read President Obama’s children’s book, “Of Thee I Sing.” Even Sparty was on hand to celebrate.

 According to Edward Scott, MSUE Wayne County educator, attendance at the 4-H Community Center was twice what they had expected with 123 kids and 15 to 20 adults attending. Said Edward, “Commissioner Bernard Parker, who did the reading at the center, was blown away by the number of people who showed up.”

 Each commissioner received a copy of the book they read with signatures of all of the kids in attendance as a thank you, along with a 4-H coffee mug and a certificate.

 Edward remarked, “Even high school-aged kids showed up. There was a mad dash to get the books – the kids were that excited. This really shatters the popular perception that kids aren’t interested in reading.”

 Many of the books featured science-based topics. National 4-H’s goal is to engage one million new young people in science programs by 2013. As part of that goal, MSUE 4-H is focusing on science literacy among children.

 View the video below created by the Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications video unit. It features children at Bates Academy, enjoying their books. It also includes comments from Edward, school staff members and Irma Clark-Coleman, Wayne County commissioner.

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National Children’s Study launched in Wayne County

I had the privilege of attending the kick-off ceremony for the National Children’s Study in Wayne County, yesterday, Jan. 26, at the Detroit Athletic Club. The study has been launching at different times in different counties across the U.S. for the past three months. Wayne County is considered one of the initial or “vanguard” counties where the first phase of the study is being initiated.

 The National Children’s Study will be the largest and most detailed study focused on children’s health and development in the history of the United States. The study will examine the effects of environment, as broadly defined to include factors such as air, water, diet, sound, family dynamics, community and cultural influences, and genetics, on the growth, development and health of more than 100,000 children across the U.S., following them from before birth to age 21. The goal of the study is to improve the health and well-being of children and to contribute to an understanding of the role of the environment in the development of health and disease. Ultimately, this understanding should help us to prevent maladies such as cerebral palsy, premature birth, autism and others.

The Michigan Alliance for the National Children’s Study (MANCS), a coalition of researchers and physicians from major health and academic institutions, is conducting the study in Michigan. These institutions include Michigan State University, Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Community Health, Detroit Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Michigan and the Henry Ford Health System. Dr. Nigel Paneth, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at MSU, leads MANCS with an executive committee of researchers from each institution. Dr. Jean Kerver is study coordinator.

Michigan State University Extension is working with Drs. Paneth and Kerver as part of the collaboration. Dr. Steve Lovejoy, MSUE associate director, is a co-investigator on the project. Dr. Lovejoy and Lisa Tams, MSU Extension educator, have been on the community outreach and engagement team and have helped lay the foundation for the study in Wayne County. They have done a tremendous amount of work in order to see the study come to fruition. One of MSUE’s primary roles is to lead the effort in recruiting prospective mothers from the study area to participate in the research study. Lisa is working closely with medical professionals across Wayne County who provide care to women of childbearing age and to children. Lisa and Steve are joined in the community outreach group by Dr. Bob Brown, associate director of University-Community Partnerships, MSU Outreach and Engagement.

 The study will take place in four additional counties in Michigan – Genesee, Grand Traverse, Lenawee and Macomb. These counties will be phased in over the next few years. MSUE will play the same role in community outreach and engagement in these counties as we are in Wayne.

 MSUE also has representation on the Community Advisory Board for the study, with Dr. George Rowan, professor in the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies, and Gerrylynn McNeal, Extension program associate from Wayne County, serving as two of the 17 board members.

 We look forward to working and building capacity for the study in Michigan for years to come and appreciate Steve’s and Lisa’s leadership in making sure that the study benefits from MSUE’s unique role in communities.

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